Diet Infringement or Infraction Help

September 29th, 2015

Starting the gluten-free/casein-free/soy-free (GFCFSF) diet is one thing, enforcing it is another. Exposure to ONE bite of non-diet bread, ONE gold fish cracker, ONE small piece of cheese, or playing with Play Doh, may trigger a reaction in your child. This exposure to off-limits foods is called a diet infringement or infraction. Here are some suggestions for battling infractions:

How to Prevent Them in the First Place

  • Tell family and friends about the special diet. Allow no one to feed your child without your approval.
  • At family gatherings, parties or events, watch your child closely.
  • Share your GFCFSF foods with other partygoers so your child does not feel left out or try to cheat (bring GFCFSF cupcakes or a cake that is brightly decorated).
  • Bring your own GFCFSF foods for your child to ensure the safety of the food. When starting the diet, it can be easier to say, "My child only eats food from home. No exceptions."
  • Write all special dietary requirements in your IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and discuss with your school district and their staff, care providers, and therapists. Make sure they all know not to feed your child without your approval, and which foods never to feed your child even after your approval has been given. Provide GFCFSF school supplies for the staff to use with your child.
  • For young or nonverbal children at school or on outings, have them wear a specialty T-shirt or at least a bracelet (like ID bracelets) with a warning to not feed your child without your approval. For example, you could have the T-shirt or bracelet imprinted with the following warning: “DON’T FEED ME ANYTHING! I HAVE MANY ALLERGIES! THANK YOU.” You can make shirts fairly easily with iron-on sheets printed from any inkjet printer or buy similar T-shirts from Café Press.
  • Know what’s really in your food. Learn how to read food labels and check your pantry every six months. Manufacturers change ingredients without having to tell anyone so you need to periodically check your pre-bought items to make sure they are still safe.

Personal Experiences

Having a child with food allergies and intolerances can be tricky. Some people don’t understand it and some don’t take it seriously. Grandparents who think “it’s just a little cookie, that can’t hurt him” can cause BIG problems.

There are a few ways that we’ve found to help otherwise well-meaning people understand:

  • “My child has allergies and cannot have those foods. Yes, it’s 'just a cookie' but you wouldn’t give a diabetic candy that you know would hurt him, would you?  Well, this is the same thing. Those foods will HURT him/make him sick and I am sure you don’t want to do that.”
  • “My child is seriously 'HOSPITAL/9-1-1! Allergic' to wheat, dairy, soy, corn, egg, etc., which is pretty much EVERYTHING YOU BUY AT THE GROCERY STORE. PLEASE do not feed him anything! Do not let him touch anything from anyone else. Do not let him use glue, Play Doh, or other craft materials without verifying them with me. If you give him these things, you will accompany me to the hospital and spend the next four days with our family. You must follow these instructions or deal with me."

One of these will work on almost everyone. But if they don’t, you must safeguard your child, even if that means the relative doesn’t get to be around your child unsupervised (or at all) until they get with the program. For the school, call an IEP meeting to discuss a one-on-one aide to protect your child, since the current staff is unable to manage it.

An Infraction Has Happened, What Is To Be Expected?

  • Change in behavior
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Rash on face, bottom or anywhere on the body
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Tantrums/crying/aggression

These changes can occur immediately or as long as 2-4 days after ingestion of, or exposure to, the problem food or products.

What Do You Do To Minimize the Effects?

Know that the next few days may be hard.

Therapies may be hard to provide to your child. Do NOT have any evaluations or testing on your child done after an infraction or for at least three days – unless you want your child to fail!

Try giving your child:

  • Epsom salt baths:
    You can buy Epsom salts at any drug store and give baths every night to minimize the effects. Typical dose is 1-2 cups per bath in warm water up to the belly button..
  • Enzymes:
    Give an enzyme that includes DPP-IV to break down any gluten and/or casein that was consumed. Talk to your doctor before any infractions happen (and they will happen, even under the eyes of very careful parents) about what best to do when they do happen. Also, keep enzymes on hand.
  • Pepcid AC:
    Use only the 10mg over-the-counter (OTC) non-chewable Pepcid AC. Note: There are dyes, casein and artificial flavors in PEPCID AC! These ingredients may not be tolerated by your child! Try Epsom salts and enzymes first!
  • Alka-Seltzer Gold:
    Alka-Seltzer Gold can help settle upset sensitive stomachs. You can buy Alka-Seltzer Gold at most drugstores.
  • Activated charcoal:
    These capsules can be found at your local health food store. It helps with dietary infractions and when your child is on yeast treatments. This supplement is a must for every GFCFSF household.
  • Probiotics:
    They help sick tummies and restore gut flora. Rotate strands of probiotics every 3 months.
  • Colostrum:
    Also helps settle an upset tummy. Make sure you only use casein-free colostrum.

NOTE: Check with your doctor for instructions and dosing information first before administering any of these options.


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